Visual Materials

Slide3

Math Equations

Accurate, fluent verbal expression of mathematical equations is not a common skill, even in people who specialize in math and science. Therefore I often do a bit of training for my readers. To begin, I make sure they memorize the greek alphabet, learn the proper terminology, and know the correct order to read each of the phases in a long equation.  Some instructions that I give them are very simple. For example, I ask them to make sure they name brackets and parentheses correctly. There are many such details that a sighted person breezes over because they are used to reading and writing math, not speaking it. Once I am confident about a readers ability, I might also assign them to record the equations in the articles/chapters to be added to to my library of recordings.

I have mathematical expressions recorded separately from the main body the text and saved in a separate file within the larger folder. It is helpful to have equations quickly accessible, rather than having to listen through the entire paper/chapter.

Plots

When my reader and I come upon a plot, I always start by having them define the x and y axes, and then I have them trace the general shape of the lines on the back of my hand, starting in the bottom left corner of the plot. From here, I ask if there are any patterns or distinctive features. I ask if there is a maximum, if there is a minimum, if the lines form a curved shape or a parabola.

There have been cases where I missed something critical in a plot because the reader did not describe it to me. When this happens, it is not their fault but mine. It is my responsibility to get better at knowing which questions to ask to extract the information I need.

Terminal

A computer terminal can be thought of as the portal to all the inner workings of the computer. It’s a different way to see the information in your computer. Rater than image based, it’s text based. You can use it to maneuver through the computer’s folders and files via typed commands, rather than a cursor.

As a computational chemist, I spend a lot of time working within the terminal. A lot of my maneuvering through the terminal depends on my memory of the organization scheme of each folder and file. Currently, I have a reader with a background in coding who works alongside me. We work through problems together, with him to describe that which I cannot read. He also takes commands from me, because in same cases his sight allows him to enact them more quickly.

 

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